“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”
I remember the first time I saw my daughter. It was a damp and chilly afternoon, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The roads, leading to the orphanage, were muddy from heavy rain. Puddles so large it seemed, at times, they might swallow the small car I was riding in. After some twenty-five minutes maneuvering through traffic, the orphanage was finally in sight! Once allowed through the security gate, my husband and I were escorted into the family area, where we waited to meet our girl.
I rubbed my hands together and blew into my palms, warming them in preparation for this long-awaited greeting. I quickly took off my sweater and raincoat, I wanted to feel my daughter against my skin!
“Tiblet,” as they called her, (meaning: Let Her Be Greater), was brought to us by her caretaker. The woman placed our baby in my husband’s arms. He, then, placed her in mine. I said, through tears, “She’s perfect!”
I meant that!
Okay, some might argue that Tiblet was actually small for her suggested 10-months of age. She was malnourished and clearly ill with heavy cough and congestion, watery eyes, and diarrhea symptomatic of parasites.
Tiblet did not smell of baby powder and sweet-scented lotion. She was not clean from a fresh bath and dressed in the finest of clothes. She had been layered into several pieces of mismatched garments (most of them size 3 months), keeping her warm in the bone-chilling air.
This tiny stranger stared at my face for several minutes. Then, as if she realized her parents had finally arrived, my daughter rested her head on my shoulder and quietly nodded off to sleep.
I recall, even through my own exhaustion, feeling a sense of complete and total happiness.
I, often, think back to that moment in time. The environment, our surroundings, were not “perfect.” There were hardships and discomforts to endure along the way to bringing our daughter home.
However, the vision I saw when I closed my eyes gave me strength to move forward. I could see a little girl, bright with hope and purpose. I saw her running and playing, laughing and dancing. I could see the fullest expression of her beauty and the many lives she would, most certainly, touch.
Perhaps, I could see what was invisible.
There, in Addis Ababa, I glimpsed into the blossoming of Tiblet’s greatness, honored to be the woman given responsibility of watering the seed.
As women, we do this, don’t we? Giving so much of ourselves in order to lift others up, be it our children, our friends, or strangers who are in need. It’s a spiritual source of strength and, it is a gift.
Is it wrong, then, to focus some of this beautiful gift on ourselves?
As a child of international adoption, I (in the darkness of my bedroom) would ask the question, “Why?” Why did my birthparents leave me? Why was I taken from my native land? Why do I not look like anyone in my adoptive family? Why do I sometimes feel so alone? Why me?
I agonized over these questions, hungry for answers. Until, one night (after so many years) a reply came like a whisper to my soul, “Why NOT you?”
“Why not me?” I waited.
Then, as if someone turned on a light switch, I answered back, “Why not ME!” Could it be that I had been given what seemed like “defeats,” in order to realize my own personal victory? I had just created a shift in my thinking and had changed the meaning to my question. What once was self-defeating became self-empowering. My question grew to, “How can I take my own perceived defeats and turn them into hope for others?”
As time has gone by, and as I have given myself the gift of “going deeper, loving me, and, yes, even liking me,” my question has developed into a core, authentic, and defining quest:
How Can I Make The Highest Meaning Of My Life Experience, In Order To Benefit The Lives Of Others?
This QUESTion allows me to see what is invisible within myself! I take in this vision and believe in the great and miraculous potential of who I am.
Nelson Mandela once said:
“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be?”
If belief in yourself comes from a pure and authentic source, then, words like these are not boastful or egocentric. Far from it, these words are who you are: right now, today!
We all have perceived defeats. You cannot walk on this planet without experiencing hurt and disappointment. What you CAN do is ask yourself how this experience shapes you and molds you into the person you are destined to be. Then, you can listen for answers. They will come, in good time, when you are ready to hear them.
You see, I do not believe that my daughter’s Ethiopian name, Tiblet, and its meaning, Let Her Be Greater, were coincidence. I had gone to Ethiopia to help an orphaned child. In turn, this little girl was waiting for me with a message divinely inspired. I was ready to hear the messenger!
Seeing what is invisible, having a vision, and believing that you are capable of greatness (no matter the obstacles you have faced in life) is, well, right there within you. You do not have to travel far to find this endless fountain of possibility. You do need to take time, I believe, to drink from your own cup of wisdom.
I never HAD to go to Ethiopia to realize this insight. I carried it with me all along. Sometimes, though, you may need a caring friend to remind you to let go and let greatness flow!
What is your QUESTion? Can you see the vision? Do you believe in things invisible?
Do you believe in you?
By the way, my girl is everything I ever envisioned and more. She dances, sings, plays, and lights up our world. On many days, you’ll find her (on her computer) by my side, while I write. Who knows, maybe a future blogger?
Today, I see the vision. What may be invisible to others is clear to me, I am a brilliant light in the world. Nothing can dim my radiance! I give myself the gift of believing in my full potential. Today, I let go and let greatness flow.